This debate seems to repeatedly come up in various forms and in various sports: Should fans of a team on the verge of squeaking into the playoffs root for a postseason berth or cheer for losses that bring a better draft spot.
In the NBA this season, one team facing this dilemma is the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Behind the exceptional play of (likely) Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, the Cavs are right in the hunt for a seventh or eight seed in the East and the right to face the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat in the first round.
The case for the Cavs making the postseason in Irving's rookie season is about gaining experience for this young and improving team. SB Nation's Cavs blog, Fear the Sword, states the other side of the argument.
Playoffs vs. Lottery: Take The Pick, Dummy! - Fear The Sword
The fact that the Cavs are in contention for the last playoff spot in the east says more about the Eastern Conference than it does about the Cavs.
[...]Call me crazy, but I don't think the chance to get swept by the Bulls or the Heat in the first round is going to exactly bolster the confidence of Kyrie and company. If anything, it would only serve to demoralize them! Getting into the playoffs would simply show the Cavs how vastly inferior they are to those teams that are seriously contending for a title, and just how much more they need to get to that point.
It's an timeless question that has no right answer, but Fear the Sword certainly makes a compelling case for the lottery over the playoffs.
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